NHS England ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33 000 leave each year. NHS Scotland Nurse staffing increases.


BBC News in England, yesterday, headlined:

‘NHS ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33,000 leave each year’

before going on to report:

‘The NHS is “haemorrhaging” nurses with one in 10 now leaving the NHS in England each year, figures show.

More than 33,000 walked away last year, piling pressure on understaffed hospitals and community services.

The figures – provided to the BBC by NHS Digital – represent a rise of 20% since 2012-13, and mean there are now more leavers than joiners.

Nurse leaders said it was a “dangerous and downward spiral”, but NHS bosses said the problem was being tackled.

The figures have been compiled as part of an in-depth look at nursing by the BBC.’


No comparable media reports are being made of nurse staffing levels in Scotland. Indeed, official figures to September 2017, actually show a modest increase in numbers of 0.4%, from September 2016.


Indeed, NHS Scotland already has a far superior ratio of nurses to the population than NHS England. See:

As the Herald attempts to worry us with 0.58% of nurses planning to work abroad, official statistics show NHS Scotland has many more nurses per head of population than crisis-ridden NHS England, after 10 years of SNP administration.

Clearly disappointed by their inability to talk down their own NHS and scare their mostly elderly readers, the Scotsman did find a few wee scraps back on the 5th January 2018. They headlined dramatically but inaccurately:

‘Hundreds of nurses are leaving Scotland every year to seek work abroad while hospitals here struggle to attract staff, official figures indicate.’

and told us, ominously that since 2012-13,
1,609 nurses who qualified in Scotland have filled out verification requests to go and work in other countries – and the numbers have been rising in recent years. Of course, we don’t know how many actually left as opposed to just filling in a form


So that would be about 330 nurses who have filled out a form each year. They clearly couldn’t tell us how many had actually gone in this time nor did they put the figure in perspective in any way.

How many nurses are there in Scotland? Well, in Nursing, excluding Midwifery, there were 56 468.2 FTE in September 2017 with 0.58%. apparently thinking of leaving to go abroad in any one year. You’ll recognise the basic propagandist technique of using the larger five-year figure rather than the more informative one-year figure.


So, 330, is that a lot, even if they had all left? If they had, would it even matter when staffing levels actual went up a wee bit? Is it a crisis anything like that afflicting NHS England?

Well, 300 is 0.58% of the total nurse staffing in Scotland. Bearing in mind that we don’t even know how many of them did leave and that overall numbers still went up, it’s a non-story. Finally, when the BBC tell us it is 10% per year actually leaving England, 0.59% is not even a nick never mind a haemorrhage.


6 thoughts on “NHS England ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33 000 leave each year. NHS Scotland Nurse staffing increases.

  1. macgilleleabhar January 18, 2018 / 10:20 am

    From the Guardian Sept 20th 2017;

    “Almost 10,000 EU health workers have quit NHS since Brexit vote”.

    I am not the sharpest knife in the box but I am sure the there is a clue in that headline as to why the English NHS service has a recruitment problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ludo Thierry January 18, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Meanwhile (from the beeb Jockland Politics page -(not currently carried on the main page) – see below:

    Sturgeon joins international health policy taskforce

    The 13-strong group was set up by billionaire Michael Bloomberg to promote policies to tackle obesity and alcohol and tobacco consumption.
    Other members include the President of Uruguay, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Norway’s health minister.
    A spokeswoman said the first minister was chosen for the role due to her work on policies like minimum unit pricing.
    Mr Bloomberg, the 10th richest person in the world, is the World Health Organisation’s global ambassador for so-called “noncommunicable diseases” – a set of chronic conditions which includes heart diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes which are the leading cause of death in the world.
    Ms Sturgeon is one of two UK representatives on the taskforce, alongside Dame Nemat Shafik, director of the London School of Economics and former deputy director of the Bank of England.
    Other members include President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay, Norwegian health minister Bent Høie, Masood Ahmed, president of the Centre for Global Development, former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, and former WHO director general Margaret Chan.

    Our ‘Scottish’ MSM keep trying to denigrate Nicola and the Scottish Govt health and Social care policies – but The Big Wide World appear to be taking some notice of what is being tried here- and reckoning it looks good enough to try and share. Don’t suppose Auntie Beeb will ‘go big’ on this one?

    Liked by 3 people

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